Category Archives: Anomalies

Sean Stephenson – 3 Foot Giant In A Wheelchair

I remember seeing Sean speak for the first time from a Seminar program I was watching and I was astounded at the level of authenticity and pure love that was radiating from him. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone be so charasmatic but also be so physically stunted (I know I am not being completely politically correct here). All I can say is that Sean is amazing, and one of the best speakers I have ever heard. He goes into detail to describe his own life and the crazy challenges he has to suffer through compared to some of us.

By his own admission, Sean is only 3 feet tall and in a wheelchair. When he shows you his chest or his arms ,they are also slightly deformed. He suffers from a rare form of medical condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

My point is, I don’t think any of you who are reading this blog is anything near as short as Sean in the video. For the person who is 5′ 6″, there is another person just like them that have to be only 5′ 0″ and have to live with that. Of course for the 5 foot tall person, they have to realize that people who are 4 ‘6 ” do also exist in the world and they have to live in their body.  Sean here may be the most extreme case of physical handicaps one can ever meet, at least from first glance. However, Sean has been able to search deep inside of himself, find the courage to move forward and push on, and somehow also just give more value and happiness to the world than most of us who are average size.

Just realize that no matter how short or bad you think you have it, there is someone else out there who has it worst in terms of physical attributes but they have learned how to deal with it and live life as the best as they could, without complaining or believing that the world wronged them in some way.

Note: What I posted is only the first part of a 6 parts series on Youtube which appears to be a documentary on Sean’s life. If you want to see the 2nd to 5th parts of of the entire documentary, just follow the links which appear after the video is over. Enjoy.

Robert Wadlow, How Did He Grow So Tall?

When one has any form of interest over the subject of height, a natural question that appears is “Who was the tallest person to ever live, in all of human history?”

When that question is posed, one can only speak from the known medical records which are available. We could go into the Bible and talk about the 9 feet tall Goliath, the Mummified Bodies of Red Haired Giant Indians (Reference Link 1, Reference Link 2), Gigantopithecus (Reference Link 1, Reference Link 2), Bigfoots and Yetis, or even other human giant legends but we won’t because none of these stories, legensds, or myths can be substantiated. So who is the tallest person who has irrefutable proof?

The name Robert Wadlow appears again and again as the title holder, one which has held for almost a century now.

Robert Wadlow lived from 1918 to 1940 and was measured at an amazing 8′ 11.1″ for his maximum height, which was done only a few weeks before his untimely death.

Compared to his contemporaries he still stood far taller than most other giants in his era. Many tall individuals in other countries would come and meet Wadlow to see him for themselves whether he was as tall as he claim and was often left shocked and amazed that he was honest in his stature.

Taken from the Wikipedia article on him and his life found HERE, we quote this passage about his abnormal growth cycle.

“” His great size and his continued growth in adulthood was due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death. “”

What is surprising about Wadlow’s case was that he had shown no sign stopping in growing when he died. Unlike most other giants who have suffered from Gigantism (and then Acrogemaly) , his growth seemed to not diminish with age however that could only be because he only lived to be 22. If he had lived to his 40s, which would have been a clear possibility, his growth might have slowed or stopped by then, but he might have reached 10 feet in height by then.

Wadlow’s case is very unique even for giants because it appears that he did not suffer from the normal causes of Gigantism, which is from some form of tumor, benign or malignant, pushing against the pituitary gland thus effectively causing the gland to squeeze out more height growth hormone. His condition reveals that his actualy pituitary gland was what had a condition, due to hypertrophy. Taken from the Wikipedia article on hypertrophy, it is defined as the increase in the volume of an organ or tissue due to the enlargement of its component cells. Thus, there was no foreign object pushing on the gland, but the gland itself which was abnormally large. This would suggest that the gland produced many different forms of hormones in excess, not just HGH and probably would never have decrease in size. As long the pituitary gland keeps secreting the right hormones in excess, the body would still respond by being activated to carry out its functions.

I remember reading an article saying that Wadlow’s hypertrophic pituitary gland prevented even puberty from being activated. Since puberty could not be activated, that means that the long bones would never get the signals to start closing the growth plates and seal the epiphyseal plates.

Overall, we gain two hints on why Wadlow’s case is so unique and why he might have never stopped growing. The first one is because that it was his pituitary gland that was enlarged, not a foreign tumor that was pressing on his gland. The second one is that apparently Wadlow’s pituitary gland was producing so much HGH that the normal process of puberty was completely stopped or delayed. My concluding thoughts are to ask how did the puberty process completely stopped with his endocrine system and whether his condition can ever be reproduced.

How Many 8 Feet Tall People Are In The World?

I remember being on a NBA basketball forum and someone posted a thread topic that went along the lines of “How many 7 feet tall people are in the world?”

I gave some reply after doing some quickly calculations. I used to live in the Seattle area and would see maybe one 7 feet tall person every 3 months. Now, that is a lot. Assuming that there was maybe 20 7 feet tall people and the total population of Washington was reported in the most recent US census beureau was about 7,000,000. then for every 350,000 people there is one 7 feet tall person which seems to be a reasonable guesstimate.

since there is about 7,000,000,000 people in the world, then we can just then multiple the 20 by 1000 giving us a total number of 7 feet tall people to be about 20,000 in the world.

However, height is a factor which is well modeled by a normalized distribution function with rather long tails on each end because of medical conditions and genetic abnormalities.

If we then wonder how many people then there are 8 feet tall or greater, we find that there is only 3 people currently that has been proven and measured. One of them is Sultan Kosen, which is the curent tallest person in the world.

1.Sultan Kosen (Turkey) – 8′ 3″

2. Brahim Takioullah (Morocco)- 8′ 1″

3. Morteza Mehrzad (Iran)- 8′ 0″ – 8′ 1″

Note: I wanted to thank the site for providing me with much of the information I have used on this post. You can find their website HERE.

Oddly enough, it was only 3 years ago that an 8 feet person was even substainted in height. Before that, not one 8 foot tall person was alive for almost 40 years, at least claimed by the Guinness Book of Records.

Before that, the title of the tallest person in the world went to a Mongolian herdsman Bao Xi Shun, who was 7′ 9″. However, it was clear that he was not the tallest person in the world, or even in the billion population nation of China. The title probably would (and should) have gone to his fellow Chinese Zhang Jun- Cai , who had attended a Japanese show with Xi Shun many years ago and had both their heights measured with Jun-Cai’s height measured at least 2.25 inches (6 cm) bigger.

Some people have discussed and argued that under certain conditions and adjusting for spinal curvature, Zhang Jun-Cai should also be added to the 8 feet tall list. That would put the total number of people at an amazing 4



Torso Length To Leg Length , A Personal Theory

As I was watching and listening to the Summer Olympics in 2008 where the phenom Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals for 8 events at Beijing, many people began to question why he was so good at the sport of swimming. 4 main reasons cited by the scientists and commentaries were

1. His long arms or wingspan, which was 79 inches in length compared to his height which was 76 inches. Compared to most other Olympic swimmers, Michael Phelps is of average height.

2. His abnormally large feet, shoe size 14.

3. His reported legs and ankle which were supposed to be double jointed giving him a greater range of flexibility, allowing for his feet to give strong bursts of propulsion.

4. His disproportionately long and large torso, compared to his legs. Supposedly he had the torso of someone who was more 6 ‘8″ and the legs of someone who was 6’ 0″. (Reference Link 1)

Now that the Summer Olympics are back and Michael Phelps swimming prowess are again mentioned, along with Ryan Lochte this time. We could talk more about his swimming accomplishment but lets focus on his height and length, which is what this site is about. I used to also be a huge swimmer as well so I guess I could be more authoritive on my swimming analysis but no one really wants to hear about that.

One thing that is clear from the start is that professional, Olympic ranked swimmers are usually very tall (Reference Link 1). However, the point that I wanted to emphasize about the swimmers build is over reason #4, that the torso seems to be far larger and longer than the legs.

I realized long ago that my body was of the same shape as Phelps, but not as tall. My torso is abnormally large and long compared to my legs. During the Summer of 2008 I really was doing 2 main things. Going to swim early in the morning for 2 and a half hours. Then, coming back home late in the afternoon to watch the Olympics, specifically Phelps to swim. Unfortunately of all the races, the one I missed was his 7th swim, against Michael Cavic which was definitely the most exhilirating swim match I have ever seen.

When I saw the amount of food that Phelps ate and compared it to myself, I wondered about this theory. What if the portions of a person’s torso to their legs is mainly determined by their eating habits when they are young?

I know that I used to eat the same amount as 2, maybe even 3 normal sized grown adults. My stomach would always be stretched out and I could feel my entire upper body ,the torso being expanded as much as possible. My mother noticed early on that my upper body seemed to be far greater than my legs. In terms of genetics,  I do have some height in my family. My Grandfather from my mother’s side of the family was supposed around 6 feet tall during a time when the average male of his country was probably 5’4″-5’6″. My male cousin is on my mothers side is also rather tall, but his height seems to be from his legs. My father’s side of the family is on the short side with rather average to short length legs.

When all this information is combined, I form this theory in my head.

1. The size and length of our torso is mainly determined by the amount of food and the nutrition value we gain when we were younger while still growing. So if you eat a lot when you are younger, you will grow taller because your torso, vertebrate, and skeletal structure will be increased in size.

2. The size and length of our legs , and subsequently, our arms and limns are determined by our genetics and the heights of our relatives and ancestors.

So that is it. My theory is really something I have thought about but never tried to prove or disprove. You can choose to accept it or not but it was something I wanted to put out there for others to think about.